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2,500 homes built for refugees of Boko Haram

Published 06/11/2015

All schools have been closed in Maiduguri area of north-east Nigeria after they were targeted by Islamic militants
All schools have been closed in Maiduguri area of north-east Nigeria after they were targeted by Islamic militants

A new refugee camp with 2,500 temporary homes is being built in Nigeria's north-eastern city of Maiduguri for a few of of the hundreds of thousands of refugees there who fled the Boko Haram uprising.

The camp - another sign that few expect the conflict to end soon - will house refugees occupying public schools, allowing classes to resume, hopefully next month, officials said.

Hundreds of thousands of children have not been to school for more than 18 months in Maiduguri and elsewhere in north-east Nigeria, where authorities closed all schools as they were targeted by the Islamic insurgents.

Boko Haram is a nickname meaning "Western education is sinful".

No-one knows how many refugees there are because most live with friends, family and strangers who have taken pity on them. Public grounds and the compounds of mosques and churches also provide refuge.

Some Nigerian officials have said there are about 200,000 refugees in Maiduguri, but Doctors Without Borders put the number at 1 million in August with hundreds arriving each week.

The UN agencies for refugees and children are building the camp along with Borno state government to house about 20,000 people.

Mohammed Tejan-Cole, of the UN refugee agency, told a ground-breaking ceremony that the camp will include wells, toilets, a clinic and classrooms.

President Muhammadu Buhari has said he wants all Boko Haram camps destroyed by the end of the year.

Even if that happens, the militants are expected to continue deadly hit-and-run raids and suicide bombings.

Some 20,000 people have died in the six-year-old uprising.

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